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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
1
January 10, 2011 - 5:23 pm

I went out to my compost pile today to empty my bucket of kitchen scraps that I keep under my kitchen sink. It was frozen. I do keep it covered with a large sheet of clear plastic. I don't know if that is a good idea, what do you think?  I do it because I don't want heaps of snow on it and then it melts and leaches all the nutrients out of the compost pile. Plus it should help heat it up earlier in Spring.  Since it is frozen I decided to put the scraps in a paper grocery bag and covered it with a large metal wash tub and then a heavy cement brick on top so the racoons can't get it. That way I can take the tub off and add to the bag. When we do get nicer weather I will start a new compost pile and let the covered one break down and hopefully be ready in late Spring.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
(Offline)
2
January 11, 2011 - 1:02 pm

I used to have a compost pile (and the soil underneath where it used to be is still pretty rich as a result).  But back a few years ago, my MIL gave me her old compost tumbler (one of those up on a stand) and I think it works pretty well.  I keep kitchen scraps too and usually dump my container once a week.  But yes, the tumbler freezes too ~ especially when there is enough wet material in it to harden up.  Makes the crank hard to turnLaugh

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
3
January 11, 2011 - 3:43 pm

Years ago I had a compost tumbler, very expensive, $350.00.  It was always wet and yucky. I probably wasn't keeping the right ratios of dry and green. Anyways I sent it back and it was a pain in my HUSBANDS back trying to fit it back into the box. It was huge and heavy.  Guaranty money back if I didn't like it.  Back it went. I will stay with a compost pile that I can walk around and mix it up…if I want to.Laugh

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
(Offline)
4
January 11, 2011 - 4:23 pm

Well yes ~ you are right!  There is NO way I'd have one of those tumblers if my MIL in WI wasn't getting rid of it.  Way too expensive.  Funny thing is, mine is always dryer than dust and I am always adding wet materials to it.  And once I got ants in it and had to use an organic ant-rid.  Otherwise, I will use it until it falls apart ~ because it's "there"Laugh

Thanks for the laugh ~ I couldn't help it ..... picturing your husband trying to get it back in the box.  My husband would've had a fit!!

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Silvester
Ontario, Canada Zone 5b
20 Posts
(Offline)
5
January 12, 2011 - 2:50 pm

This really bugs me during the Winter.  I put our compost in the bin the city provides and they pick it up every week.  🙁 I just haven't found the way to keep my precious "waste".  We have dozens of rabbits in the backyard.  There's racoons and deer.  I like your idea Lark of putting everything under plastic or a bin.  I think I'll do that because I hate seeing all that good stuff go when it could be decomposing in my backyard.  When I can work the soil, I take my kitchen waste and wrap it in newspapers and bury it in the flower beds, or where ever it fits in the backyard between flowers and shrubs.  I do this the whole Summer/Fall.   I call it "feeding the dirt".  Dig a hole, put the buddle in and cover it.  The racoons can't find it and critters don't get to it.  I also put all the kitchen waste in a black, plastic, tree container (leftover from planting my fruit trees).  I add the wrapped bundles in there and it takes weeks (not months) for the pot to be full of earthworms and rich, black soil.  They seem to go through the holes at the bottom of the container and they love the newspaper bundles.  I just put the pot directly on the soil and let is sit there.

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
6
January 12, 2011 - 5:50 pm

Thank you so much for the black tree pot idea for compost. If it works quicker that would be perfect. What do you do to keep the critters out of the pot?

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
7
May 1, 2011 - 7:17 pm

I started my present compost pile in January. It was my kitchen scraps and I kept a bucket over it and a concrete block on top so no animals could get in it. In March I started adding shredded newspaper, urine and now grass clippings. I added more shredded newspaper and watered it good. Covered it with clear plastic so it doesn't rain on it and it heats up quicker. My old compost pile isn't ready yet. It is from last Fall. It didn't get much sun during the Winter and it is still cold here in Wisconsin.  Now with longer days it should start breaking down. I won't put in the that area again.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
8
May 6, 2011 - 4:04 am

In Spring my compost pile starts growing really fast. Dave gives me the grass clippings (no chemicals). I tear my black & white newpaper into strips. Then layer grass clippings, newspaper & water. I need to find someone who has shredded paper at work and use that. It would be much easier on my hands.Smile

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Coastal Gardener
Plymouth, MA
1 Posts
(Offline)
9
July 5, 2011 - 7:18 am

My husband built me a compost bin the very first year I started to put in my gardens. It's about 6' by 4' and he inserted two large PVC pipes with holes drilled all along their length to allow more air to get down into the pile. It's not a "hot" pile because I mulch my grass right onto the lawn when I mow, so I don't add enough green material. But it decomposes over the winter so I always have lots of new stuff to amend my soil.

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Brenda
SW Indiana zone 6a
129 Posts
(Offline)
10
July 5, 2011 - 7:32 am

I love the pvc pipe tip! We need to come up with a better system of our compost pile.

I also love the tip from Silvester about wrapping kitchen scraps in newspaper and keeping in a lg plastic planter..I don't use as much kitchen scraps as I could for fear of attracting racoons and pests.

"Gardening is a way to show that you believe in tomorrow"

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